I'm looking for a book I read in the late 1990s that actually was the inspiration for the username I still use today.

  • It was based on the plot of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, with people falling in love while not knowing one another's true gender identities.
  • These people met in chatrooms in the very early days of the Internet (think "a/s/l").
  • The Shakespeare character Sebastian was named Serenthia in this re-telling.
  • I don't remember it being... high quality fiction and I think it was quite short.
  • I assume I read it in physical format, but I don't recall anything about its appearance.
  • I once met someone else online who cited the same inspiration for their username (not all serenthias are me!) and they also read it in the UK.
  • It was written in English (not translated from another language).

Many thanks, detectives!


1 Answer 1


There is a short novel which seems to meet much of your description, Published in 1998, Love Online by Lisa Tuttle

When Rose moves to America to stay with her grandmother, the internet enables her to keep in touch with her family and play games in multi-user domains.

She meets Orson, Olivia and Simon in the ‘domain’ of Illyria, where they become people they are not and find a deeper truth in fantasy.

From what I can see from Google Books, Rose takes on two characters in the domain of Illyria, Serenthia and Roberto.

  • 1
    It was actually pretty easy to find with the information you gave. I literally just searched 'Serenthia' in Google books and excluded World of Warcraft and Diablo from the search. I had it in about 3 minutes.
    – Spagirl
    Jul 28, 2021 at 15:04
  • Ah, I hadn't considered going directly to Google Books - was using just Google Search which returned too much. Good tip, thank you :-)
    – U W
    Jul 28, 2021 at 16:29

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